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Ground breaking Planning for Health & Wellbeing book

24 June 2015

Urban planning is deeply implicated in both the planetary crisis of climate change and the personal crises of unhealthy lifestyles. The sources of many current worldwide health issues such as risk from obesity, mental illness, growing health inequalities and climate vulnerability cannot be solved by medicines but require us to address the social, economic and environmental determinants. In a time when unhealthy and unsustainable conditions are being built into the physical fabric of cities, a new awareness and strategy is urgently needed to putting health and well-being at the heart of urban development.

A ground breaking new book, the Routledge Handbook of Planning for Health and Wellbeing, is launching in Bristol on Thursday 2 July at the Watershed. Aimed at decision-makers in control of urban planning, transport policy and how our cities are developed, this handbook authoritatively and comprehensively integrates health into all aspects of urban planning, strengthening the hands of those who argue and plan for healthy environments.

With contributions from international leaders in the field, the Handbook of Planning for Health and Wellbeing provides context, philosophy, research, processes, and tools of experienced practitioners from four continents. The editors are Hugh Barton, Susan Thompson, Sarah Burgess and Marcus Grant.

Emeritus Professor Hugh Barton, the lead editor for the book and an eminent leader in this field, will host the launch. He and co-editor Professor Susan Thompson from the University of New South Wales, will discuss the importance of the publication. The Director of Public Health for Bristol, Becky Pollard and the President of the Town and Country Planning Association, Janet Askew, will speak on the role that healthy urban planning plays in achieving goals for Public Health and Spatial Planning respectively.

Marcus Grant is one of the leaders of the SHINE Health Integration Team, a team of experts from Bristol's universities, the city council and NHS acute and mental health trusts and local communities. SHINE, which stands for Supporting Healthy Inclusive Neighbourhood Environments, aims to turn Bristol into a healthier city, with neighbourhoods that help people to be more healthy. SHINE will achieve this by integrating health, well-being and social inclusion with urban development, transport and planning, to reduce health risks and promote healthier lifestyles. SHINE is part of Bristol Health Partners, which brings together the city region's major health institutions, from hospitals to universities, and the council to commissioners.

Marcus will be at the book launch, along with the other three editors and several chapter authors, including another SHINE leader, and Bristol City Council Transport and Health Consultant, Adrian Davis.

Marcus said:

"We hope that both researchers and practitioners the world over will use this handbook to create the healthy cities of the future, which so many people so desperately need. This book is a vital tool for all those who want to improve the health and well-being of their local communities, the ultimate guide to creating healthy, sustainable urban environments."

The book launch follows Marcus's plenary at the International Making Cities Livable conference, called 'These places are killing us: Healthy Urban Neighbourhoods: Neighbourhoods to die for, or to die in?' This presentation is grounded in the fault line between two professions - public health and spatial planning. Based on a determinants of health model, a challenge is issued to all urbanists - to identify themselves as part of the wider public health workforce.

More information on the handbook is available at

Ground breaking Planning for Health & Wellbeing book
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